I do what I wanna do
I say what I wanna say
When I feel, and I
Look in the mirror and know I'm there
With my hands in the air
I'm proud to say yeah
I'm real, I'm real, I'm really, really, real

from Kendrick Lamar (Ft. Anna Wise) – Real Lyrics on Rap Genius

Meaning

After the prayer at the end of “Dying of Thirst,” Kendrick feels rejuvenated and free in a sense and he is able to look at what he’s been through in another light.

These lines resembles the mindset that the m.A.A.d City and Kendrick have had throughout the album thus far, with no feeling of responsibility or accountability for their actions, not realizing that this whole mentality is whats keeping them down.

The repeating of “I’m real” in the last line of the hook illustrates a sense of irony as it is become obvious to Kendrick at this point of the album that everything that the city has fed to him is not real at all.

This also can be seen as Kendrick’s overcome of peer pressure. As he mentioned in songs before, specifically “The Art of Peer Pressure” but in others also, it was peer pressure that caused him to drink, smoke weed and gang bang in the streets. By him saying that he’s doing what he wants to do, saying what he wants when he feels like it, it’s him beginning living his own real life and not what other’s influence him to do.

Later on, Kendrick’s father leaves a voicemail and says:

“Real is responsibility, real is taking care of your motherfuckin' family, real is God nigga.”

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